abstract Annukka Lindell

Annukka Lindell (Department of Psychology, La Trobe University, Melbourne)

Putting your best cheek forward: the influence of posing position on perception.

When posing for a painted or photographic portrait, people are more likely to offer their left, rather than right, cheek (e.g., the Mona Lisa). Why? This talk examines research investigating the left cheek bias, and the reasons underlying this posing asymmetry. Various possibilities are assessed, from mechanical and perceptual biases to hemispheric asymmetries in emotional expression. The research demonstrates that people intuitively offer the left cheek to express emotion and perceive left cheek poses as more emotional. Moreover, because the left cheek appears more emotionally expressive, we unconsciously use cheek shown as a cue when presenting or determining academic specialisation and scientific standing. The research is consistent in suggesting that something as subtle as a 15 degree head turn implicitly influences others’ perceptions: if you want to be perceived as open and creative, rather than dry and scientific, it might be time to turn the other cheek.